Norman and Eric, our two bouncy boxer dogs, are utterly adorable but oh so filthy. If your dog, like Eric, cannot help but jump in every muddy puddle, pond, lake or river then you’ll know the utter mayhem that can happen when you arrive home after a long Sunday morning walk. You’ll understand the pain of constantly cleaning up after them and needing shares in mop heads and fabric cleaner companies, not to mention industrial scale purchases of scented candles and air fresheners to rid your home of the funky smell only a wet dog can bring…
All that said, we wouldn’t be without our wonderful four-legged friends and this is where you’ll need to get a little more serious about the types of fabric you purchase.
What do we mean by pet friendly fabrics?
No fabric can be completely pet proof which is why we are going to explain what we mean by pet friendly fabrics. Essentially what we are looking for to be pet friendly is a fabric that
- won’t harbor lingering smells
- can withstand some light scratching
- is easy to remove pet hairs from
- is machine washable
This general rules bring up a few good options for pet friendly fabrics. A short pile is a much better option, with a flat weave being ideal. This is important for a number of reasons – it will harbor smells less than a chunky pile and it will be easy to pull pet hairs from. Wools and longer pile chenille’s are probably a no-go area for areas of your home that your pets regularly inhabit. Leathers and vinyl’s seem like an obvious choice in terms of being wipeable, however beware of marks if your pets jump on and off or like a good scratch. Linens are good in that they are super easy to clean whereas a polyester or polyester mix will usually be machine washable (although do check the care instructions before purchase).
The Martindale test is a good place to start. Check out the score of the fabric you are interested in. As a general rule of thumb, anything above 25,000 to 30,000 should be able to withstand some pet usage.
Perhaps consider colours that are close to your pet’s fur, which will help with camouflaging rogue pet hairs in-between cleans.
It might also be an idea to purchase some extra material to make covers, particularly if you really struggle to keep your pets off your furniture. This way you can pop a seat cover and arm covers (for scratching cats) on your furniture when your pets are present but, crucially, not lose the overall look. They’ll easily store away for when you have visitors, whilst preserving the life of your furniture overall.
One of the reasons your pets will keep on returning to your prized sofa, is that they may not have a suitable and comfortable space of their own. Take some time to consider where your pet sleeps and have a think about how you could improve it and make it (for them) the greatest place on earth. Pets tend to love stretching out somewhere warm in front of a fire or a radiator and cats love a soft carpet or bed area, think about where the best position for this would be. Dogs also love a soft area to lounge around on, think about a place in the house for them which can also house their favourite toys – this should hopefully distract them away from the piece of furniture you are trying to deter them from.
Consider a bespoke made cat or dog bed using foam and custom-made washable covers. Flat weaves, easy clean chenilles and washable velvets would be an ideal choice for this. Of course, one of the best parts of going custom made is that you can style the fabric to be in-keeping with the interior of your home, rather than having to depend on whatever the local pet store is stocking. Eric and Norm’s extra large bed is custom made from our easy clean chenille Abundant range in the colour Pigeon, it sits beautifully in our kitchen looking more like a piece of furniture than a dog bed.
We have plenty of fabrics to choose from which are pet friendly. You can search via the fabric finder to find suitable fabrics for your home. In the meantime here are a few personal recommendations…
You can’t go wrong with one of our easy clean fabric’s. Abundant and Swish are two of our beautiful chenille’s offered with easy clean technology, also offered in a wide range of colours. This would be ideal for either your own furniture, that you can’t quite shift the pets off, or for custom made pet beds – or of course you could do both in matching fabrics to really style it out.
If a plain velvet is your thing, then have a look over our Lavish range. Its machine washable and wipeable and given the shorter pile its less likely to harbor those lingering pet smells. We have this fabric on one of our sofa’s and it’s the only sofa that the dogs are allowed to sleep/cuddle us on. We regularly wash the covers and use a standard off the shelf fabric cleaner to keep the fixed parts fresh. It’s also super easy to hoover up the pet hairs, particularly useful during molting season.
One of our sofa’s that the dogs are not allowed to go on (but still do when we are not looking) is covered in our beautiful Sienna. Given the nature of the flat weave, it doesn’t tend to harbor the smells like a longer pile would. Being machine washable and wipeable makes it a fantastic choice for if lovely linen type fabrics are your thing, ours are removable covers and so it’s a perfect choice for being able to pop in the washing machine, plus its super easy to hoover away the pet hairs.
So, when choosing a fabric that’s right for you and your four legged friends, think short piles, washability and don’t forget to check out the martindale rub test. Click here to go directly to our pet friendly collections.
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The Furniture and Furnishings Regulations 1988 (Fire Safety) sets out the standards for UK upholstery. The standards test how quickly fire will spread on a particular piece of fabric and dictates what level of fire retardancy/resistance (FR) a piece of fabric requires, depending on its use.
Fabrics used in homes for curtains or soft furnishings do not require any FR. Upholstery or large and/or fixed furnishings in the home require FR at ‘domestic’ level. For commercial premises a higher standard than that of domestic is required which is called ‘contract’ FR.